AANE Support and Social Group Facilitators

The facilitators listed below facilitate support groups and social groups for parents of children, teens, and transition age adults 18-22.  (Click here to see facilitators for parent of adults 23 years of age and older)

Parent of Child & Teen facilitators

Amanda Bailey
Amanda Bailey, Child and Teen Services Family Support Specialist, first turned to AANE in 2013 as a parent in need of guidance when grappling with a new diagnosis. She draws on her knowledge as the parent of two children with autism and direct experience in family support through leadership of her local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) and ongoing work with Mass Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC). In 2016, she attended the Federation for Children with Special Needs Parent Consultant Training Institute. Amanda is available to help parents over the phone, online, through support groups, and via in-person coaching.
Brenda Dater
Brenda Dater, MPH, MSW, Associate Director, is the author of Parenting Without Panic. Brenda is mom to 3 sons, including a college graduate with an Asperger profile. Brenda joined the staff at AANE in 2007 and has been working with parents for over 25 years. She has completed the Federation for Children with Special Needs parent consultant training and a fellowship with the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Tufts University.
Stephanie Loo
Stephanie Loo, M.Ed., Director of Information and Referral, has worked at AANE since 2001. She also draws upon her own experience to provide other parents and professionals with information, referral, and support by phone, and through Parent Coaching. She wrote grants and edited a former publication, the AANE Journal. She initiated the AANE/NESCA Transition Roundtable, which resulted in an expanded programming focused on transition planning and preparing our teens for college. In 2017-18, Stephanie will be facilitating AANE’s face-to- face support group for Parents of High School Boys. In 2019-20, Stephanie will be facilitating AANE’s face-to- face and Online support group for Parents of High School Boys. In addition Stephanie will run an Online Support group for Parents of High School Girls and Boys.


Janeka Melanson

Janeka Melanson is the Director of Online Learning/Conference Coordinator at AANE. She first reached out to AANE for guidance and support as a parent, and began volunteering with AANE in 2016 before taking a more active role in the organization. Janeka, lives in Wayland, MA. with her husband and two daughters, where she is an active community member as a Special Education Parental Advisory Council (SEPAC) board member, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) board member, as well as a Special Olympics Coach. She is an advocate of self-care and exercise for all parents, especially those raising children with unique challenges.

Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker, MSW, LICSW, Director of Child and Teen Services, first contacted AANE as a parent, when her daughter was first diagnosed in 2006. Nancy has 25 years of experience working in mental health. Prior to joining the AANE staff in 2017, she worked as a counselor in hospitals, colleges, and prisons, created mental health training programs for educators, and provided information, referrals, and support to parents of children with mental health issues. In 2017-18, Nancy will be facilitating AANE’s face-to- face support group for Parents of High School Girls.In 2019-20, Nancy will be facilitating AANE’s face-to- face and Online support group for Parents of High School Girls


Laura Perez

Laura Perez, M.Sc., Directora de Programas para la Communidad Latina, Laura Perez, M.Sc., is a parent specialist with ANNE's Child and Teen Services Team, and is also the Director of Programs for the Latino Community. Laura has been with AANE since 2016. She helps parents via phone, online meetings, support groups, and face to face coaching, drawing on her professional and personal experiences. In the Summer of 2017, she attended the Parent Consultant Training Institute of the Federation for Children with Special Needs. She also consults with the Justice Resource Institute and with Massachussets Advocates for Children. On the personal side, she is a mother of three, including a young adult with ASD Contacte a Laura para servicios y consultas en español. In 2019-20 Laura will be facilitating AANE's face to face and Online support group for Parents of Tween Boys. Laura will also run a Parent Support Group for Latino parents.

Leslie Tsui

Leslie Tsui is a social/life coach for young adults with Asperger Profiles. She has completed level 1 of the Social Thinking clinical training program® and also serves as the parent coordinator for the Ely Center in Needham, MA. She has worked with this profile for 15+ years, and has focused on young adults for the majority of that time.

Kelly Lewis

Kelly Lewis has more than 15 years of experience working as a therapist, as well as, a residential/clinical director and program director in various settings. She has a particular area of expertise in working with people who have experienced significant sexual trauma whether acute or complex and multi-generational. She specializes in supporting those experiencing the effects of trauma, depression, anxiety, interpersonal difficulties, low self-esteem, and significant life changes. She also has a particular interest in sexuality and a passion for supporting individuals and couples in exploring sexuality and intimacy. She values working with all people including diverse ethnic, socioeconomic and gender populations.

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